March 1, 2014

Red Lines in Crimea

Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest

The Associated Press

President Obama stepped up to the podium twenty minutes after the announced time for his talk and gave a short, sharply worded but ultimately vague statement on what looks like a growing and intentional Russian military presence in Crimea. We shall see how things work out, but at first glance President Putin appears to have stolen yet another march on the sputtering West. As I wrote last week, Putin was under pressure to act quickly and run risks; not for the first time, complacent and unobservant Western leaders underestimated Russian decisiveness and determination to surprise. Washington in particular appears to have been caught flat-footed by Russian moves, and even as Kremlin forces fan out across the restive province, President Obama seemed unsure just what Putin intends.

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TAGGED: Vladimir Putin, Crimea, Ukraine, Russia, Barack Obama

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